I am leaving CGI on Jan 3rd and honestly at this moment my heart is brimming with emotions that I never knew I would feel. A mix of sorrow, anxiety, fear, anticipation, hope and more than anything else a huge amount of gratitude! I have had 40 terrific months at CGI, and I thought I must record my memories in words and so, here is my recollections of a glorious phase of my life. This blog is not sorted in any order. They are just simple plain recollections.
But before I write on, a big THANK YOU to every colleague at CGI! Thank you for all the support over the years, for all the memories and the incredible love and guidance given to me!
WARNING : This blog might be longer than my previous ones, I hope you will understand why :)
The FIRST interview:
The interview with Logica was the first one I ever attended in my life. Your first interview is always special and it becomes even more so when you actually crack it. My interview happened on June 2nd, 2010 and life has never been the same after that day. Muthalagan Shenbagaraman and Ponraj Ponnusamy handled the interview of which I remember every second. Ponraj asked me after the talk, “Raghavan, you seem to have a unique set of skills. But how do you think you will fit into this I.T atmosphere? There might be no scope for you to express all of your skills here. You sure you want this field?” the question rattled me. I was desperate for a job that day and I told Ponraj I would adapt to any atmosphere given the chance.
That day I told myself, if at all I got the job, I’d discover all avenues there are to express myself completely. I vowed to do more than just BAU! And eventually, I guess I did do what I pushed myself to. And I hope Ponraj and Raman, would agree :)
The ‘You are unfit to be in this team’ moment:
I did debate on whether to put this moment in writing but decided to go ahead because this was one of the turning points of my life.
I was put into a highly technical team immediately after joining. As a fresh grad, I did not realize the significance of knowledge and experience in deciding which team you can work in. I felt that whichever team I was in didn’t matter as long as I would learn and work. But my manager then was someone who strongly believed I must have enough experience to be a part of his team. He came to me and said ‘You are unfit to be in this team. To be here you have to come through a lot more…’ there were a few more sentences that conveyed more of the same.
That conversation made me angry and I made a decision that day. I told myself I would one day surpass the person who told me those words and I worked for it. For 25 months I carried that anger in my heart. I kept moving onwards, but the anger was too much of a burden to bear. I did do things I wanted to, I did raise my own standards but the anger was always there. It took me 2 full years and a moment of spiritual inspiration to make me realize that Letting Go was very important.
Today I do not blame the person who told me I was unfit; it was a case of him saying the right thing, but in a wrong way. The incident though taught me two things,
1. It is very important to know WHAT to say but it’s even more important to know HOW to say it.
2. One must learn to LET GO; Let go of all ego, anger and frustration. The longer you carry negative emotions, the slower your progress would be!
The TOASTMASTERS journey:
I wanted to learn ‘HOW to say what I wanted to say’. I was good at public speaking yes, but I had the yearning to learn to be professional speaker. My yearning led me to this club. I have had the best time of my life at CGI Chennai Toastmasters Club and today I am most proud of myself for having made the decision to submit myself to this movement. ‘Toastmasters’ has given me so much in life. Learning, practice, applause, popularity, pride and above all some really irreplaceable friends and mentors.
I can say without hesitation that, but for ‘Toastmasters’ I’d be a lesser person today. So, join this movement. There is a club in every locality of Chennai. Search for it and you will find birds of my feather always around!
BEET, Writers Club, Syntillations, CSR, Music Team, GIS Cheers Team, Splash Team and Photologic:
Over the years I ensured that I associated myself with as many people as I possibly can. I carry with me the belief that the more people I interact with, the more I learn. I put my hands up and joined every social community there was/is in CGI. Time was never an issue to me. That was something that I learned through the journey too. If you really want to do something and you have the passion for it, you will definitely find the TIME and ENERGY.
Being a sub editor for the Global Newsletter, the Beet (formerly YELLOW) has been a life changing experience for me. Through this role I understood the corporate culture better. It was my job to understand every project in Chennai and also the functioning of it all. I also got the chance to get up close and personal with many of the leaders in Chennai and Bangalore and these interactions are priceless. Being on the writers club helped me immensely. I got to read material of my fellow writers and there was so much inspiration that I drew from them. I would surely be a lesser writer if not for them.
Syntillations was a glorious team, so was the CSR and the Red teams. The former gave me a chance to contribute to the people I was working with in this organization and the latter gave me the opportunity to serve the society. The Music team was pure pleasure. Jamming with likeminded musicians gave me freedom I had never experienced before and it gave such a high when performing on stage. Photologic is another amazing group. Freezing your best moments on cam is a fascinating experience and this group of magicians excel at it.
The Splash team helped me work closely with team mates from my vertical and organizing 2 big outings for all GIS members was a terrific experience. The cheers team is an upgraded version of the Splash team and right now monthly events are being conducted and this team has already brought smiles to everyone’s face
The ‘With hands inside your pocket you came across as an arrogant guy’ moment:
It was in October 2010 that I got my first opportunity to host a show at Logica and the show was the Oscars. I wore my dad’s blazer for the event and it was the first time I was wearing a blazer. The show went well and a few days after the event I got a ping from a female colleague. Initially I thought she was going to commend me on a job well done but she actually told me, ‘Throughout the evening you had one hand of yours in your trouser pockets. There can only be two reasons for it, either you were scared of the audience or you are an arrogant guy who doesn’t give a damn about the audience. Doesn’t matter what reason it is, it’s an alarm for you to change dude!’
Obviously her pings hurt me (actually hurt my ego). She was right of course, I was extremely scared of being the host. But after her ping I realized that I was doing the wrong thing. And since then, I have hosted 10 shows in CGI but never once has anyone found me with my hands in my pocket. You might know by now that this incident was the spark behind my first ever short story. My colleague? She is now the best friend I ever have :)
You will have your ‘hands in your pocket’ moment in life too and a friend might point it out to you. Correct it immediately, you never know, it might change your life forever
The BIKE rides :
Our Chennai office is located exactly 17KMs from my home. There is no direct bus/train from my home to office and so to commute, I bought my first bike - Unicorn Dazzler. I did fall in love with the bike when I first saw it, but every day I rode to office on my bike I realized something about myself. I discovered the world’s different dimensions. I observed so many things about life and this society that I would never ever have, but for my bike. Most of the blogs in this page of mine were written twice; Once in my head while driving and then again on this medium in print. Creativity abounds when you are alone and my bike gave me so much during the 1 hour drive every day. These 34KMs have given me a much deeper understanding of my own self than anything else ever has.
I used to listen to songs while driving (yes, I can hear you saying its dangerous :D but I guess I am too spoilt now to change), I used to race with fellow (unknown)riders, I sang, fretted to myself, cried when I failed in something, sweared at god and rejoiced about my successes too.
If you have a bike or a car, then I would urge you to take a drive… alone! Ask yourself some personal questions and listen to what your mind answers. I learnt a lot about myself through this exercise, it may work for you too. Trust me, if it does work for you, then I am sure you will be an entirely different person altogether!
Yes, YOU! You are the one who makes my life complete. I may or may not know you, we may or may not have met, we may or may not have spoken to each other, we may or may not have worked together, but in taking time to read this blog, you have spent energy. It is through this blog that you and I are connected and without you and your time, love and energy I would be incomplete!
So you are the most special part of my life! So THANK YOU! Thank you for your continued support! I hope our lives intertwine soon but till then, Fare Well.
May this New Year be the beginning of the BEST YEARS of your life.